THURSDAY’S DFS NEWS NUGGETS
1. Jordan Reed says he’s going to play against Bucs Sunday
Considering Reed’s lengthy and scary concussion history, it’s a bit of a surprise that he was back at practice Wednesday. The snakebitten tight end has a couple more hurdles to clear in the protocol, but he says he’s 100 percent certain he’s going to return Sunday. Note that Reed was on pace for 134 targets at the time of his injury, more than the 130 Rob Gronkowski led tight ends with last year. He was averaging 6.0 catches for 69.5 yards and had scored once. It’s a bit frustrating that Reed’s price didn’t drop – he remains $4200 – but he’ll certainly be a nice underowned play in GPPs. The entire world is going to be on Antonio Gates at $5000.
2. Jordan Matthews not expected to get Josh Normaned Sunday
Per PFF, Josh Norman has been in the slot just 2 percent of the time this season. That means he’ll avoid Jordan Matthews, who runs 95 percent of his routes from the slot. I don’t have the stomach to roster JMatt as he’s underperformed in every plus spot he’s been in this year. But based on simply game theory, it’s a spot to be on him in GPPs. Some people will think Matthews will see Norman and most will be like me and not want to roster him anyway. He’s still averaging 9.3 targets per game, a high number for someone who costs $6400.
3. Raiders very pleased with Michael Crabtree’s play
Speaking of highly targeted players that are underpriced, Michael Crabtree is at 9.6 per game but costs just $4300. Although he’s not as explosive as he was pre-Achilles tear, Crabtree is plenty effective and is actually being targeted more than Amari Cooper — both overall and in the red zone. On top of that, the Raiders coaches want him more involved. “He’s ben terrific,” said OC Bill Musgrave. “We just want to keep building his role in the offense.” The Chargers are a team you run against to beat, but Brandon Flowers has really been struggling this year. Crabtree is a fine play at that $4300 tag.
4. Chargers wideouts getting healthier
It’s getting crowded in Philip Rivers’ arsenal of weaponry. Stevie Johnson (hamstring) returned to practice Wednesday and appears on track to take back his slot role. Keenan Allen’s hip flexor is not considered serious and he’s tentatively expected to play against the Raiders. Of course, Antonio Gates looks young again, Ladarius Green is emerging, Danny Woodhead is doing his thing and Malcom Floyd is the vertical streaker. That’s a crowded group. One way to soak up all this talent against a brutal Raiders secondary is to simply roster Philip Rivers at $6500 and be done with it. Gates’ red-zone role and the Raiders’ struggles against tight ends makes him an obvious elite play at $5000 as well.